Album: Meghan Trainor - Treat Myself

The "All About that Bass" star mixes in some treble

From The Arts Desk

Here it is, at last: Meghan Trainor's long-anticipated third album, scheduled for last summer, but mysteriously delayed because Trainor wanted to "add more songs". Not everyone was convinced by that story – there were rumours she was really planning to quietly scrap the whole thing because of a disappointing response to the early singles. But she didn't give up, and the final product weighs in at a hefty 15 tracks.

About half of them share the same R'n'B-lite flavour of the recent single, "Blink". And yet, you can't help thinking it was really the first offering, "No Excuses", that she should have been trying to follow. It was cheery and light, and a whole lot more fun.

And so it is with the whole album – the songs that stay with you the longest are the sassiest or most heartfelt. "Funk" has an old-school George Clinton feel, and "Nice to Meet You" (featuring Nicki Minaj) carries off some outrageous hip-hop beats through its sheer chutzpah. A few of the ballads aren't half bad either. "Wave", a love letter to husband Daryl Sabara, is suitably lush. "Working" is slower and huskier and digs deeper into Trainor's psyche. "Never liked compliments", she sings, "because it's always been so hard believin' them".

The singer's other reflections on relationships and self-worth don't all work so well. "Baby Girl (love yourself)" is a dreary electro-pop/ R'n'B monstrosity, and "Here to Stay" is just lacklustre and forgettable. The most frustrating track is "Another Opinion" which is basically a lovely, sunny tune spoilt by its unnecessary electro-pop overtones.

Trainor has been experimenting with such styles ever since her second album when she ditched her retro candy-cute schtick in order to sound more contemporary. Since then she's also tried out other personas like the romantic balladeer on "The Love Train" EP and, of course, her sideline as a judge on The Voice. But throughout, she's been at her finest when she's kept some of her cheeky, girl-next-door charm. For all its inconsistencies, the best of Treat Myself does exactly that.

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